Lead shot on pheasant days?

Pedro

Well-Known Member
So, one of the shoots I am a member of has quite high birds (pheasants) on some of it's drives. I'm very keen that if I am to shoot at these, I want to be certain (assuming I do my bit and hit them) to get clean kills. At present, I use 36 gram loads with 4 shot and that works well. You can argue that lighter cartridges would reach them, but for sure, the ones I use are simply more effective. Now the topography of the shoot is such that however you drive the pheasants, there are some drives that are going to show these high birds. Incidentally, before anyone thinks it, this isn't a commercial shoot putting down thousands upon thousands of birds. It's just a local, farm orientated shoot that happens to be in one of the hillier parts of the country.

The question then is this: What non-lead shot is now available that would give me anything like similar performance? Because it looks to me that we are heading towards substituting one allegedly bad thing (the lead poisoning issue) for another (injuring birds rather than killing them. Although again, we have great pickers-up who miss very little).
 

Pedro

Well-Known Member
Tungsten matrix has very similar ballistics to lead, but the cost will make your eyes water!

David.
Yes. The lead cartridges I use are just over £100 a slab (250) Which some may think is extortionate for shotgun cartridges. A tungsten matrix equivalent is just over £550 a slab. Horrendous! The search goes on.....
 

jubnut

Well-Known Member
Is your gun steel proofed?

What length chambers.

Plenty of HP steel in use on the foreshore for wildofowling that will be more than adequate for flying chickens.
 

Big Mat

Well-Known Member
ITM would give you a very much like for like performance, but I'm not sure it is still available.

All the other options, would require you to load your own cartridges, HW13,HW15 and TSS, these are all superior to lead, but come at a price.

But to be honest, modern steel is more than adequate for a few pheasants, if it's good enough to shoot geese on the foreshore.
 

Apthorpe

Well-Known Member
We had a guest last season using the Eley vip steel eco wad 5s in 32 g . He was pulling down some very high birds , most impressive to watch .
I'm somewhat surprised because 32g 5 lead cartridges carry about 20% more energy than that cartridge, and considerably far more per pellet.
It appears to defy the laws of physics that a lighter projectile travelling slower is allegedly able to inflict equal terminal effect.
Nobody has yet been able to explain that or demonstrate its truth. Certainly cartridge manufacturers make no claim of the sort.
 

Basil H

Well-Known Member
Just use soft iron (steel if we must use the term) threes.
I eat goose pie every couple of weeks at the moment, mostly killed stone dead with 70mm/3 loads, not to mention various wild duck.
It really is not a problem. And by the way I have yet to break a tooth on any variety of shot despite some of the scare stories.
 

Apthorpe

Well-Known Member
So, one of the shoots I am a member of has quite high birds (pheasants) on some of it's drives. I'm very keen that if I am to shoot at these, I want to be certain (assuming I do my bit and hit them) to get clean kills. At present, I use 36 gram loads with 4 shot and that works well. You can argue that lighter cartridges would reach them, but for sure, the ones I use are simply more effective. Now the topography of the shoot is such that however you drive the pheasants, there are some drives that are going to show these high birds. Incidentally, before anyone thinks it, this isn't a commercial shoot putting down thousands upon thousands of birds. It's just a local, farm orientated shoot that happens to be in one of the hillier parts of the country.

The question then is this: What non-lead shot is now available that would give me anything like similar performance? Because it looks to me that we are heading towards substituting one allegedly bad thing (the lead poisoning issue) for another (injuring birds rather than killing them. Although again, we have great pickers-up who miss very little).
I looked into this to replace 32g 5 shot. The short answer is that no equivalent load that could remotely plausibly have the same terminal effect exists. Added to which such a load may well damage your gun.
 

Smellydog

Well-Known Member
I'm somewhat surprised because 32g 5 lead cartridges carry about 20% more energy than that cartridge, and considerably far more per pellet.
It appears to defy the laws of physics that a lighter projectile travelling slower is allegedly able to inflict equal terminal effect.
Nobody has yet been able to explain that or demonstrate its truth. Certainly cartridge manufacturers make no claim of the sort.
Higher pellet count per load.
Lots of folk forget a shotgun works not on a single pellet strike but an accumulative effect of combined hits.
So getting struck by 7 iron pellets when just four lead would of done normally, the outcome is similar
 

10.9

Well-Known Member
I'm somewhat surprised because 32g 5 lead cartridges carry about 20% more energy than that cartridge, and considerably far more per pellet.
It appears to defy the laws of physics that a lighter projectile travelling slower is allegedly able to inflict equal terminal effect.
Nobody has yet been able to explain that or demonstrate its truth. Certainly cartridge manufacturers make no claim of the sort.
It’s a bit like do I need a 243 or 270 to kill a deer , both will do .
It may be worth to buy a slab of ether steel wild fowling loads or steel game loads and give it a go , ether on a driven day or a driven clay shoot . Difficult to get totally reliable results on just one day as you could be having a good or bad day though .
Like you I was always a bit sceptical about steel , but having seen the way this gun shot convinced me that there are decent alternatives to lead out there .
 

sako85708

Well-Known Member
Many years ago a group of us rented a lake for Duck Flighting ,and placed a blue plastic barrel fitted with a feeder on an island 25 yrds from the bank. Lead got banned that year and we all got upset but tried other loads including steel, which I think may of been Gamebore super steel 4's. Someone shot the barrel one night and we were all shocked to see all the shot rebound back !! After that incident we went on to test most steel loads available at the time (because of price) and our finding were they needed to be 3" magnums and shot sizes bigger than 3's to kill cleanly and dependable . The best in all tests were Remington nitro steel 2's from John Forsey's . I still have a box for special occasions and they kick like a mule !!. By the way a few weeks later we tested a Gamebore black gold 5 30 gm and it penetrated one side and stuck in the other, I rest my case !! Gamebore make / made a 3" 32 gm fibre wad steel in 4's and we used over 1000 of them on driven ducks but they killed badly and most ducks only dropped a leg and broke a wing, which kept the dogs busy. A few years later I tried them on driven Pheasant, though a 1/2 choke and got great kills. They would certainly worth a go, if your gun is proofed for High performance steel.
 

Apthorpe

Well-Known Member
It’s a bit like do I need a 243 or 270 to kill a deer , both will do .
It may be worth to buy a slab of ether steel wild fowling loads or steel game loads and give it a go , ether on a driven day or a driven clay shoot . Difficult to get totally reliable results on just one day as you could be having a good or bad day though .
Like you I was always a bit sceptical about steel , but having seen the way this gun shot convinced me that there are decent alternatives to lead out there .
In fact, the analogy would be accurate comparing .270 to something like a .25-35. The latter might do the job at 250yds, but it's certainly not a wise choice nor legal.
A steel 5 pellet of the type you described has around half the energy of a lead pellet at range. It cannot be as effective at longer range.
I would like to try steel cartridges IF a) it was safe in my gun, which it isn't and b) it was plausible that it would kill cleanly.
 

Apthorpe

Well-Known Member
Higher pellet count per load.
Lots of folk forget a shotgun works not on a single pellet strike but an accumulative effect of combined hits.
So getting struck by 7 iron pellets when just four lead would of done normally, the outcome is similar
Apparently some folk forget that for a shotgun to kill cleanly pellets have to strike with a minimum force sufficient to penetrate enough to cause death.

Those 7 pellets will have around half the energy each that lead ones do.
 

Pedro

Well-Known Member
Apparently some folk forget that for a shotgun to kill cleanly pellets have to strike with a minimum force sufficient to penetrate enough to cause death.

Those 7 pellets will have around half the energy each that lead ones do.
And that's the crux of my question. I suspect the lightest load in a .410 might do the job, but to be able to do it effectively and consistently, like anything you need the right tool for the job and at present, without a viable alternative, lead provides that.
 

steve sxs

Well-Known Member
So, one of the shoots I am a member of has quite high birds (pheasants) on some of it's drives. I'm very keen that if I am to shoot at these, I want to be certain (assuming I do my bit and hit them) to get clean kills. At present, I use 36 gram loads with 4 shot and that works well. You can argue that lighter cartridges would reach them, but for sure, the ones I use are simply more effective. Now the topography of the shoot is such that however you drive the pheasants, there are some drives that are going to show these high birds. Incidentally, before anyone thinks it, this isn't a commercial shoot putting down thousands upon thousands of birds. It's just a local, farm orientated shoot that happens to be in one of the hillier parts of the country.

The question then is this: What non-lead shot is now available that would give me anything like similar performance? Because it looks to me that we are heading towards substituting one allegedly bad thing (the lead poisoning issue) for another (injuring birds rather than killing them. Although again, we have great pickers-up who miss very little).
For Christ's sake Pedro, just use the lead, you are not poisoning anything, where I shoot the lead occurs naturally in the water courses and loads of duck, moorhen, heron, trout, crayfish, flaming otter, (to much salt will kill you, to much oxygen will make you very ill, I give up.
 

Pedro

Well-Known Member
For Christ's sake Pedro, just use the lead, you are not poisoning anything, where I shoot the lead occurs naturally in the water courses and loads of duck, moorhen, heron, trout, crayfish, flaming otter, (to much salt will kill you, to much oxygen will make you very ill, I give up.
I do! it's partly a rhetorical question and partly what the hell happens when (if) lead shot becomes illegal. In the meantime, I'll continue to use the most appropriate shot load for the conditions.
 

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